Mendelssohn: Paulus

Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' - Acts of the Apostles tells us that Saul heard Jesus speak these destiny-altering words after he was suddenly struck by a blinding light as he was walking northward from Jerusalem on the aforementioned thoroughfare. The rest is familiar: Saul then became Paul. For Mendelssohn, who was born Jewish, but was baptised as a Lutheran at the age of seven, the story of the apostle Paul was more than just a subject for a biblically themed oratorio: it was a deeply personal narrative to which he felt a particular connection. For him, the oratorio was not just about faith, but the question of identity. In addition to the Jewish-Christian duality, Paulus - which was premièred in Düsseldorf in 1836 - also has another exciting aspect: it is the first Romantic oratorio, which is nevertheless strongly connected to the Baroque traditions of the genre developed by Handel and Bach. This, too, is a duality. Although this is one of aesthetics and style rather than faith, it poses questions that are just as riveting as the first one.

Program and cast

Conductor: György Vashegyi


N. N., Eszter Balogh - soprano

Bernard Berchtold - tenor

Jochen Kupfer - bass

Purcell Choir
Orfeo Orchestra

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Palace of Arts

The Palace of Arts (Művészetek Palotája in Hungarian) is a building in Ferencváros, Budapest, Hungary, officially opened in March 2005. It is located near Rákóczi Bridge and was designed by Zoboky, Demeter and Partners Architectural Office. The National Theatre, which opened in 2002, is located next to it.


Both the Palace of Arts and the National Theatre are part of the new Millennium City Center being created in Budapest.

The structure of the Palace of Arts covers a ground area of 10,000 m² and the total floor space of the building is 70,000 m². It received the Prix d’Excellence of FIABCI in 2006.

The general manager is Csaba Kael.


Performing arts and other facilities


Bartók National Concert Hall is 25 m high, 25 m wide and 52 m long, providing a total capacity for 1,699 people. The concert hall features variable acoustics. The organ of the concert hall, inaugurated in 2006 by Xaver Varnus, has 92 stops and 5 manuals as well as 470 wooden pipes, 5028 tin pipes and 1214 reed pipes. It is one of the largest organs in Europe. A fully playable virtual version of this pipe organ named Palace of Arts Budapest Pipe Organ Samples was developed in 2008.


Ludwig Museum.  This is a state of the art Contemporary Art Museum with paintings by;Picasso("Musketeer With Sword"),David Hockney,Tom Wesselman,Richard Estes("Rappaport Pharmacy") plus paintings by these Modern Hungarian Masters;Imre Bukta("Officers at Pig Feast").Laszlo Feher,and Imre Bak.There are also creations by;Claes Oldenburg ("Lingerie Counter"),Yoko Ono,and Markus Lupertz.

Festival Theatre.  The Festival Theatre, in the Eastern third of the Palace of Arts building, seats 452 and also has the most modern technology.

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